A while back, I talked about how I gave up shampoo. I also mentioned that I was experimenting with hair gels. While I’ve heard of gels using aloe, the cost of flax is a lot more attractive to me, as a student. The one bag of Bob’s Red Mill flax cost me about $4 and will probably make me a number of batches in the triple digits. Each batch lasts me about two weeks.
With this gel, you get to choose what kind of hold you want. I wouldn’t suggest aiming for hair glue-type hold though, although I haven’t tried it. To attempt to tame the lion’s mane that I manage to grow with my human genes, I like to make my gel on the thicker side. I don’t recommend making the gel thicker than you need it. If boiled enough, the flax will become the consistency of egg yolks. This can leave a bit of a greasy feel on your hair if you end up using more gel.
The styling method that seems to work the best for my hair is getting just enough gel at the top to lay the frizz down (while my hair is still wet), and using a lot more of it from about ear level and down. Using a method I got from Curly Girl: The Handbook, instead of using a towel to soak up the water, I use an old cotton t-shirt. The typical towel material dries hair out too much. By the way, if you have curly hair, READ THAT BOOK! If you personally know me, I can lend it to you.
Anyway, let’s proceed to the gel making.
What you need
1 cup water
1 1/2 tbsp flax – not flaxmeal
1/4 tsp citric acid – I find this at Bulk Barn or the bulk section of health food stores
A few drops of essential oil (optional)
What you do
Combine the water and flax in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Once it comes to boil, lower the heat to avoid an overflow of goo (yuck). You need to start watching the mixture closely at this point. It doesn’t take long for the gel to go from perfect to too thick. To get the thickness I need, I’d guess it takes about five minutes from the time it starts boiling. There is a such thing as making it too thick, and it becomes difficult to handle.
Once it’s reached the desired thickness, strain the gel into an airtight container. Mix in the citric acid and essential oil, if using. The citric acid isn’t necessary, but it will help make the gel last longer. Keep the gel in the fridge when not using.
I suggest rinsing the strainer as soon as you use it. It won’t take long for the seeds to cake onto the strainer, and cleaning will be a lot more difficult. Alternatively, you can place the seeds in a tea ball to boil the mixture and discard them at the end.